Tony Leung Chiu-Wai: Sexiest Newcomer

In Asia, where he has starred in more than 50 movies and recorded several Top 10 pop hits, Tony Leung can’t walk the streets without being mobbed. And once Americans catch his starring role in the Hong Kong export In the Mood for Love—for which he won this year’s best actor award at Cannes—strolling may prove equally problematic over here. Yet Leung, 38, is a reluctant star. “I’m shy,” he explains. “I’m not sociable. I’m very insecure.” Besides crowds, the 5’8″ actor professes to hate parties, though his live-in girlfriend of 10 years, actress Carina Lau, 35, sometimes drags him along. Leung’s quiet demeanor just adds to his magnetism, says actress-director Joan Chen: “His restraint makes you feel that there is a fire beneath the surface.” The Hong Kong resident attributes his intensity to a rough childhood—he was 8 when his father left the family, and as a teenager he sought emotional release in acting. “Fans say I have a lot of sorrow in my eyes,” he says. “It’s true.”

Related Articles